The NSW and Australian governments should upgrade the Sheahan Bridge near Gundagai to improve the productivity and safety of Sydney’s supply chains, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chief Executive Officer Ben Maguire said today.
Mr Maguire was responding to the NSW Government announcement of a new permit for High Productivity Freight Vehicles on the Hume Highway, to supply Sydney supermarkets with fewer truck trips.
“The ATA congratulates the NSW Government and Minister Paul Toole for recognising that High Productivity Freight Vehicles on the Hume Highway will keep freight flowing, keep supermarket shelves stocked and reduce the number of truck trips required to move the freight task,” Mr Maguire said.
“The new permit, allowing Ron Finemore Transport to supply the Woolworths distribution centre in western Sydney utilising modern High Productivity Freight Vehicles equipped with advanced safety technologies, illustrates how the trucking industry keeps our community supplied.”
But Maguire said the new permit also highlights the need to upgrade the Sheahan Bridge at Gundagai on the Hume Highway to allow for heavier loads to deliver productive supply chains for Sydney and reduce the number of truck trips.
“The ATA has been calling for the Sheahan Bridge to be upgraded, to allow wider use of more productive trucks on Australia’s busiest road freight corridor,” Mr Maguire said.
“The Hume Highway carries 40 per cent of Australia’s road freight task and supplies our two largest cities.
“The new permit shows what should be possible, moving freight to Sydney with fewer truck trips.
“A High Productivity Freight Vehicle 30 metre A-double can move a 1,000 tonne freight task in 21 truck trips, compared to 26 trips for a 26 metre B-double or 42 trips for a standard 19 metre semi-trailer.
Maguire said that Austroads, a government research body, has concluded that High Productivity Freight Vehicles are safer, use less fuel and offer significant economic benefits to a range of industries.
“These benefits to NSW and Sydney should be available widely, by upgrading the Sheahan Bridge and making the Hume Highway accessible to High Productivity Freight Vehicles for all supply chains,” he said.
Ben Newton, Head of Transport Development at Woolworths, said shelves were being stocked quicker during the pandemic due to the NSW Government’s permit innovation.
“It’s no secret food and grocery supply has been stretched in recent times. Having the flexibility to run higher volume trucks up the Hume has been a big help in our efforts to keep stock on the shelves for our NSW communities,” he said.
“This is a great example of government and industry working together to safely improve the road network and supply chain efficiency.”
Transport for NSW has also recently granted permits to Linfox and GTS Freight for 35 metre Higher Productivity Vehicles to access key distribution centres for Coles and Woolworths in western Sydney and Goulburn.